Wednesday, June 30, 2010


This is Crime Scraps post number 1,000!

Who do I think will win the 2010 CWA International Dagger?
The shortlist is a very strong and very varied collection of crime fiction from France, Iceland, Italy, South Africa, and Sweden [two books].
We can be sure of only one thing, that a male author will win for the first time, after three wins by Fred Vargas, and one by Dominique Manotti.

The six book shortlist:

Badfellas by Tonino Benacquista, translated from the French by Emily Read.

"So I have a little niggle in the back of my mind about Badfellas, and the author choosing a Mafia snitch as the novel's hero. It is only a little niggle because Badfellas is such an amusing book.........."

Hypothermia by Arnaldur Indridason, translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb.

"But Erlendur's search to find some answers to her suicidein Maria's tragic past uncovers some harsh realities......"
"Gripping and haunting are probably much overused terms when it comes to reviewing books, but each applies to this absolutely brilliant book."

August Heat by Andrea Camilleri, translated from the Italian by Stephen Sartarelli.

"Andrea Camilleri gives us another superb portion of all the charming idiosyncrasies that make this series so enjoyable."

Thirteen Hours by Deon Meyer, translated from the Afrikaans by K.L.Seeger.

"If you like intelligent fast paced thrillers with violent denouements, and lots of interesting characters, then I can recommend Deon Meyer.
I wonder if South African crime fiction is going to be the main stream media's next big discovery."

The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets' Nest by Stieg Larsson, translated from the Swedish by Reg Keeland.

"The four strands of the story come together in a satisfying climax and [minor spoiler alert] in a brilliant court room drama that had me shouting yes, yes, yes!"
Read the full review of The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest here. [There are a number of Stieg Larsson, and Lisbeth Salander links at the review.]

The Darkest Room by Johan Theorin, translated from the Swedish by Marlaine Delargy.

"This brilliant novel is part ghost story, part detective story, and a really gripping thriller.
This is a beautifully constructed story with all the various threads and strands interwoven so cleverly, but as with most good crime fiction nothing is quite as it seems, and there are some unseen and unexpected twists at the end."

How do we choose a winner from six such enjoyable reads that are so different in style and content?

I will start by eliminating the two books, I consider to be the outsiders.

A violent black comedy which was extremely funny in places but tailed off towards the end. While Tonino Benacquista expanded the idea brilliantly this was still a story based on one slim joke, the "Sopranos" in rural France. It was not a complex book, and could not compare in this respect with the rest of the short list.

Thirteen Hours.
A very exciting tense thriller with a message about the future of South Africa and some sharp characterizations.
I rated this above Badfellas, but I think the International Dagger winner should be something really special, and apart from the freshness of the location, I did not consider Thirteen Hours to be "winning" material. This does not alter the fact that I will rush to read his next book.

[To be continued next week, when I will eliminate two more books, and decide on the final two contenders.]


Blogger Karen (Euro Crime) said...

Great post and I look forward to seeing next week's choices for elimination!

2:55 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Thanks very much Karen. Of course last year I was completely wrong, but I don't think I was alone in that.

3:19 AM  
Blogger Bernadette said...

I like your methodology Norman. I've got two books still to read so can't see if I agree with you yet, though I wouldn't be picking Badfellas either of the four that I've read.

Just about to start August Heat

3:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Norman - This is a terrific post! And congratulations on your 1,000th post, too : ). You've got some solid thinking for how you're going about figuring out who'll win, too...

4:31 AM  
Blogger Jose Ignacio Escribano said...

Norman I'm about to start Hypothermia and have Thirteen Hours next to-read. Probably I won't finish on time all six. I've just ordered today Badfellas but will wait for your next week post to tell you my favourites.

4:36 AM  
Blogger Kerrie said...

Well done on 1,000 posts too Norman

6:10 AM  
Blogger Maxine Clarke said...

Great post, Norman, congrats on such a good one for your 1000th. I agree with you about badfellas - a slightly sour taste in the mouth. He did attend Crime Fest (unlike very many non-English language authors - was Yrsa the only other one) so he deserves to be on the shortlist for that reason but I agree he should not be the winner. Also, 13 Hours, while very exciting and like you, I'll be reading everything he writes, petered out at the end. far we are in agreement;-) Look forward to what is next to get the chop - or should I say, next to be drilled out?

10:55 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Thanks Bernadette, Jose Ignacio, Kerrie, Margot and Maxine.
My methodology, and solid thinking, might end up as tossing a coin. ;o)

11:59 AM  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Happy 1,000th. Ladbroke's are doing big business on what your choices will be.

12:09 PM  
Blogger Dorte H said...

Congratulations on your 1,000th post!

I am horrible at predicting or guessing winners, but I keep my fingers crossed for Theorin and Indridason.

2:56 PM  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Dorte, betting shops are taking bets at 2-5 on quinella bet of Theorin and Arnaldur as Norm's final two.

4:21 PM  
Blogger Dorte H said...

Peter: of course they are, and they should be! :D

3:22 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home